Saturday, July 25th, 2020

ARRANGING CUT FLOWERS

With summer in full swing, chances are you’ve taken note of the sweet sights and smells of the many flowers in bloom right now. Whether it’s annuals, perennials or foraged blooms, we love harvesting flowers, bringing the outdoors in, and creating beautiful arrangements all season long. But how can we make those beautiful arrangements last as long as possible? Today we have grower, designer and flower expert extraordinaire Kelly Tellier from Lily Stone Gardens sharing her best tips for success.

When to Harvest

“The best time of the day to harvest flowers is early in the morning or late in the evening when it is cool outside. Every flower variety has an appropriate ‘harvest stage’. Cutting at the correct harvest stage is key to a longer vase life of your cut flowers. For example, we do a ‘wiggle’ test on zinnias. If you grab the stem between two fingers about six inches down from the bloom and give the stem a little shake — if the stem stays stiff and the bloom doesn’t sway side to side, it’s ready to cut. If the bloom wiggles, or feels a bit limp and not sturdy on the stem, it’s not ready. Another example is poppies. Poppies should be cut when the bud has a slight crack and you can just see some color inside the bud — not when the bloom is wide open. Each individual flower variety has a very specific period of time where it is in its prime for cutting purposes.”

How to Harvest

“Always use sharp snips and try cut at an angle. Place flowers directly into water. If flowers stay out of water for any length of time always re-cut before placing in the water again. Also, it is always very important to use clean snips, and clean vases. All foliage that would fall below the water line of your vase should be removed. Change your water in your vase every two days and give your flowers are fresh snip at the same time.”

Arranging & Displaying

“I love arranging garden flowers in unique vessels. Antique urns or old milk bottles anything that enhances the character of the blooms.”

Composition

“My favorite way to style or display flowers is ‘less is more’. Let the flowers speak for themselves. I love to display flowers against a white wall or white table. It makes all the colors and flower tones pop. Arrange each bloom so it’s visible and has its own space among the other flowers.  Or, get creative with these oh-so-sweet bud vases, reveal bottles and classic pitcher vases available in store and online.  I normally like to pick three to five larger focal blooms per arrangement, as well as some upright flowers (tall) and then some filler flowers. Pick colors that are complementary to one another or use shades of the same color.”

Care

“It is important to ensure your flowers are kept out of intense sunlight and change the water every two days — and at the same time, give your stems a fresh cut. As flowers fade, pull them out of the arrangement to keep the remaining beautiful as long as possible.”

Inspiration

“One of my favorite, easy to grow flowers for August are Cosmos. Cosmos can be direct seeded and grow very easily and will continue to seed themselves year after year if you let the old flowers go to seed. Cosmos look so beautiful just on their own in a vase or pair so beautifully with grasses or fall foliage for a unique non-traditional wild looking fall bouquet. I would encourage everyone to look beyond ‘just the flowers’ in their gardens and yards. Unique shrubs and greens can also really add a unique and romantic feel to arrangements. For example, spirea in the springtime is a wonderful greenery and filler to mix with spring flowers and ninebark is one of my favorite foliages for September bouquets.

Grow Your Own!

“I would highly encourage any gardening lover to grow a small cutting garden for themselves. Designate a small area of your garden that you allow yourself to snip from. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cutting different varieties. It can be extremely therapeutic — and anything home grown is just that much better and that much more special.”   

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your expertise with us!

Kelly Tellier is the owner and operator of Lily Stone Gardens, a seasonal cut flower farm and year-round floral design shop. You can find catch up with Kelly and her team on their website or on Instagram @lilystonegardens

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

YOGA FOR GARDENERS

If you’re reading this, chances are you love gardening. From carefully planning and planting in the spring, to munching on herbs throughout the summer — and, let’s face it, many of us will admit to the sense of satisfaction that can only come from a good weeding — gardening brings joy to the lives of many.  With all that we get to tending to a garden — fresh air, sense of place, a connection with nature — getting our hands dirty can be hard on the body. Many of us suffer from the soreness and stiffness associated with repetitive movements and simply leaning over flower beds or garden rows.

As we tend to the earth, we often forget to tend to ourselves.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen and stretch muscles, while bringing focus to the breath, body and the present moment. Gardening, too, is something of a “moving meditation” — gardening and yoga may just have more in common than you might think.  Here are a few poses, to be done together in a short sequence, that can done be done before or after a gardening session to lessen the impact on joints and muscles while increasing awareness.

First, start your practice seated in a comfortable position on a mat or towel. You may practice indoors or outdoors in the garden, whatever suits you. Begin to pay attention to the breath — each inhale and each exhale. In yoga, we work to link the breath with movement, so we will maintain this awareness of breathe throughout the practice, however long or short, vigorous or slow-paced.

Child’s pose (Balasana)

From all fours, widen the knees slightly and sink the hips back into the heels. Reach the hands to the front of the mat, pressing into all five fingers as you sink the hips back even deeper. Stay here for a few breaths, feeling the breath puff up the back as you inhale, and lower down as you exhale. Child’s pose gently opens the hips, thighs, back body and shoulders.

childs pose

Cat/cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

Come to all fours on your mat, knees directly beneath the hips and hands directly beneath the elbows and shoulders. Inhale the chest through the arms, rolling the shoulders back, arching the back and looking up slightly. Exhale to to round the back, pushing the ground away, and tucking the bellybutton to spine as you exhale fully. Repeat for 10 (or so) cycles of breath.  This pose is excellent for gardeners as it works to strengthen the back and spine. When we you find you are hunched over the garden bed, come back to this action and roll the shoulders back slightly to realign the spine and take pressure out of the back body.

cow pose

Forward fold (Uttanasana)  

Standing with feet hip-width apart and rooting all five toes into the mat, allow the arms, shoulders and upper body to relax, hanging without effort as the legs support the upper body. Inhale to a flat back, engaging the upper back and abdomen to look forward. Exhale to release back down. Repeat for three cycles of breath.  Similar to the actions of the upper body found in cat/cow, this pose will help to strengthen your upper back, in addition to finding a stretch in the backs of the legs.

Grey Bridesmaid Dresses

Squat (malasana)

Bring the feet slightly wider than hip distance apart and begin to bend into the knees, bringing the seat back toward the ground. Feet can rotate outward slightly to point the corners of the mat as you bring your fingertips to the ground in front of you. Sinking further into the hips, awaken in the belly and roll the shoulders back, bringing the torso upright. If comfortable, bring hands to heart centre and hold for a few breathes.  Squatting is certainly a familiar ‘pose’ for gardeners! This pose allows for an opening of the hips. When squatting down to pull a weed or harvest veggies, come back to the action of awakening in the belly and rolling the shoulders back — this too will lessen the strain on the upper back.

 squat pose

Corpse pose (savasana)

All of the hard work is done! Laying on our back, let the toes spill out to either side of the mat, flip the palms so they face up, and tuck the shoulder blades into broaden the chest. Release the body of all effort here. Be sure to allow ample time in Savasana — at least five minutes or more.

Namaste!

Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

BEAT THE HEAT WITH OUR WATERING TIPS

While most plants enjoy a certain amount of sun, very few can tolerate high temperatures for too long without extra help. Vegetables will wilt quickly, and crops like lettuce may bolt and end up tasting bitter. As that summer heat wave rolls on, here are a few things you can do to protect your garden:

1. Don’t water during the heat of the day.

A deep watering in the morning or evening will guarantee that water gets down to the roots of your plants and doesn’t simply evaporate off the soil surface.

2. Try an automated timer.

Automated timers for sprinklers and hoses are ideal for watering late at night or while you’re away on holidays. Try a simple-to-use water timer that attaches to your faucet or garden hose, no batteries needed.

3. Give vegetables an extra drink when it’s extra hot.

Keep a close eye on annuals and vegetables for wilting – when temperatures really soar, these plants may need an extra bit of water to help them through the day. If that is the case, use your watering can to water close to the roots, and avoid splashing water on the leaves.

4. Soaker hoses will save water and money.

Obviously, watering is essential if you want your garden to thrive in heat, but all that moisture can come at a cost. A soaker hose can save from 30-70% water usage!

5. Rain water is best – collect it with a rain barrel!

Rain water is soft, pure, aerated, the perfect temperature, and free! Catch it with a rain barrel that can be attached right to your hose for easy watering.

6. Fertilize regularly for strong roots that take up water.

Watering with a fertilizer like Myke at regular intervals will encourage root growth. Deeper, stronger roots mean plants can take up more water and better stand against those long, hot summer days.

7. Keep moisture in soil with mulch or landscape fabric.

The best garden mulches are wood and bark chips, because they absorb moisture, as opposed to rock or stone. Soaking thick layers of newspaper can also work as a temporary water-retaining mulch while you’re on holidays! Mulches and fabrics will also help to keep weeds at bay, and will protect plants from damage during the winter.  

8. Plant some shade!

If you need to plant shade-loving plants in a sunny garden, you can try blocking them with leafy, sun-loving plants. If you really finding it tough to keep up with watering during the summer, take a long-term strategy and plant a shade tree in a strategic location to help you out.

Talk to our experts for advice on types of trees and how and where to plant for the best results, or use our Plant Finder tool to dig up the best options for your garden.

Be proactive for a healthy garden, all summer long!

Hours of Inspiration

Monday-Friday / 10am-5pm
Saturday / 9am-5pm
Sunday / 12pm-5pm

Curbside Pickup Hours
Tuesday-Saturday / 10am-4:30pm

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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